Play With Fire, You End Up Burned

p. Evelyn

POSTED: Tue Jan 08, 2019 4:25 pm

Laurentius Astora
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Spending his nights near a warm fire left him smelling heavily of wood and ash. It had become the Astora male's natural scent long before his arrival here, everything on in his possession cloaked by the smell of smoke. The earth-toned mutt was laid upon western ground the night before now, having started off early and travelling all day to get where he was now. Laurentius hadn't made it far, stopping at any curious sight and alluring scent he came across along the way. After all, the adventurer decided there was no definite destination; south was a suggestion, and he would at least follow the path down eventually. But he was going to enjoy the journey until something more specific came up.

During one of his frequent enough stops, the Englander had managed to hunt down a rabbit, strapping it to his belt until he found the perfect spot to set up camp and cook up a decent meal. It wasn't too dark yet, but his stomach was screaming in frustration, eager to be filled with something more than stale bread and tasteless crackers.

He gathered up some small stones for a quick pit and broke off a few low hanging branches from a nearby tree. He only needed a small fire, something to warm up the meat and provide some smoke for flavour. When the flames were but a flicker, but powerful enough to put off some warmth, the male set off in the immediate area in search for anything to go along with his meal. Preferably, Laurentius would love to come across some rosemary or fennel, anything to add a little more taste to his rabbit roast. He kept an eye on the fire, but wasn't too obviously concerned about leaving the pit unattended for a short time.

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POSTED: Fri Jan 11, 2019 7:30 pm

Sometimes she wandered, but never without Blackjack and never without leaving word with her companions back at Searsport. It was wiser, she knew, to bring The Reverend or Santiago with her – even one of those Cartel coyotes, with whom her small band had fallen in with, would have been better than nobody – but Evelyn, small and damaged as she was, refused to underestimate those strengths and capabilities she possessed. She had her father's charisma, after all, and that could get someone places brute strength and vitality of body alone could not.

But neither did the fire-kissed coyote overestimate herself, for what good would did that ever do someone? None, so far as Evelyn was concerned. Fooling some poor schmuck was one thing, but trying to fool yourself? Without thinking, Evelyn blew a sharp, short scoff between her lips. The cloud of breath blown from her mouth fizzed into the atmosphere and then fizzled out just as quick. Only idiots tried to fool themselves and it never panned out. She had learned that hard and early and it had been one of the best lessons she had ever endured.

And so it was that, rather than be a reckless fool who overestimated herself, Evelyn did not venture terribly far from Searsport. She encouraged Blackjack around Penobscot Bay until the mishmash of various Luperci scents began to wane and other, wilder smells took hold. Sucking in the frosty air, Evelyn took stock of the world around her. The air smelled of salt, from the sea that licked the edge of the earth, and of snow, from the multitude of white that spanned forever. But there were other scents mixed within these two overarching aromas: birds and deer and rabbits and smoke.

Instinctively, Evelyn scanned the surrounding wood with every sense on alert. Because where there was smoke, there was...

The coyote eased Blackjack to a stop with a click of her tongue and a gentle tug of his reins. She slid off of his back with ease and secured him to a nearby tree before she inched, with agonizing care, toward the wink of orange and yellow and gold that flickered between the thin brush separating her from the camp. The smell of a canine mixed pleasantly with the aroma of woodsmoke, and Evelyn felt herself relax. Just one. There was only one.

At least, there was only one she could smell.

Evelyn eased herself slowly forward, her body crouched like the thief she knew herself to be, until she was near enough to the flames to feel a suggestion of its warmth. She looked around but saw nobody. With a thrill of worry, she wondered if she had fallen for some terrible trap and, with a violent twist of her head, looked around her quickly. But there was nobody and there was nothing. Slowly, she returned her sights to the fire and glared into its cheerful dance.

Slinking with great care, Evelyn slipped into the camp and glanced about, searching for anything useful or valuable she could pilfer from whoever was stupid enough to leave their belongings behind.

[WC — 519]


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POSTED: Fri Jan 18, 2019 6:33 pm

Laurentius Astora
______________________________________________________

His search was cut short when the scent of another grew stronger. At first, it was faint enough to consider another in passing, as it was neutral territory.
After a moment, however, the stranger seemed to remain, and curiosity got the better of the mongrel.

Almost always, everything he owned was in some way attached to his person. It wasn't much, so it was relatively easy to simply keep his belongings on hand. For the short time, he had set aside his ratty cloak, warming next to the fire as the falling snow before has soaked into the material and soaked it through. He'd also left the rabbit, foolishly.

Returning promptly, not eager to find his dinner stolen, Laurentius caught sight of the new arrival and cleared his throat. He hoped not to frighten the stranger, but to simply make his company known. "Uhm, yes... 'Ello there." The pyro greeted, smile friendly, but with a hint of discomfort.
"Or, welcome." He retorted, offering a smart remark to her stumbling across his camp. She was not unwelcome, but Laurentius was not so naive to just assume any other he came across had good intentions.

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POSTED: Fri Jan 18, 2019 8:13 pm

There were a great many things that Evelyn Escuella disliked, and a great many more that she vehemently despised, and among those things was being caught while in the midst of an act of larceny, deception, or subterfuge. This, perhaps more than most other things, was in the forefront of her mind with every day that passed. She dealt in the subtle art of dishonesty and trickery on a near-daily basis, after all; it was her expertise. Trapping and hunting she left to her boys, but this? Well, this was The Vicar's bread and butter.

Thieving, on the other hand, took a bit more concentration and a great deal more poise. But she had her father's speechcraft, should something to awry, and those horrible scars she wore with permanence sometimes went a long way to making fools believe she was someone to pity.

Stepping with care, Evelyn considered the cloak that warmed next to the golden flames. It had seen better days, but then so had she and, as far as she was concerned, any extra layer of warmth was worth the risk. Inching nearer, her muscles taut and tense, she wrinkled her nose at the flames as they encouraged an ache to the burn scars that ravaged her face but would not be deterred.

At least, not by the flames.

The sound of a grunt tumbling within a throat made her freeze, her tattered ears swiveling. Evelyn turned her head, flaming eye focusing on the figure that had caught her. His smile was kind, if strained, and The Vicar felt herself relax marginally. Slowly, the cloaked coyote forced her body to straighten and encouraged her long, scarred nose to dip in acknowledgement of the man's presence.

"This your fire?" she asked, frowning with feigned disappointment. Against the flickering of the fire, the burn scars on her face – and the ruined sight of her right eye – were licked with a light that Evelyn hoped was revealing to her sudden new acquaintance. "Lucky you got back when ya did," she continued, tugging her shawl tightly around her narrow shoulders. "Just about snuffed th' thing out. Unattended fires are dangerous things." She held her mismatched gaze steadily on the stranger's face, emotionless but for the disappointment they still held.

[WC — 382]


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Little Bandit They stole my dirty socks... :( Venerate savagery, Die savagely

POSTED: Tue Jan 29, 2019 9:30 pm

Laurentius Astora
______________________________________________________

His posture relaxed as she began to speak. Something about the harmonious lilt of a female's voice soothed the hybrid more than any salve.
The firestarter gave a short, affirmative nod before slowly coming closer. It was his bivouac, and he was understanbly possessive of his things (as they were already few), but he remained careful lest he appear brutish in his approach.

Laurentius cleared his throat once more, inhaling of smoke over the last few, freezing nights leaving his voice raw and rasped, Aye, my Lady. Though how she concluded her greeting left him with a raised brow and tilted head. Oh, uhm... Yea?

He felt foolish now, usually more poetic with his dialogue and now stumbling for words. She was right, that was undoubtedly agreeable; unattended flame could prove disastrous if left to grow in size and power. But this fire is fa' from wild, my friend. Laurentius explained, As I was no' but wi'vin sight of it, only turned away for a short bit. He scratched absentmindedly at his cheek, icey blue eyes quickly tracing over the stranger's scars.

Perhaps it was rude to stare, but he thought them attractive; he'd be hypocritical to assume anything less pleasant about his company for them.
'Oweveh, I'm back now. He tried once more with a smile, hoping not to have offended the other with his excuses. That was far from his intention. You could join me, if you'd like.

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POSTED: Sat Feb 16, 2019 11:48 pm

My lady? Evelyn would have snorted with disdain if she wasn't so emotionally anemic. Or, rather, if she hadn't trained herself to be such. As it was, beneath that hardened shell that she polished carefully every day, she felt the subtle stirrings of callous amusement. She was a female, certainly, but a lady? Hardly. Nothing good came from being too feminine.

Sharply, The Vicar narrowed her eyes. First 'my lady' and now 'my friend'. It seemed to the fire-kissed coyote that this stranger was either trying to soothe her or was terribly naive. Or both. She gave a short, humorless laugh. "All fire is wild," she commented briefly before pausing again. Silently, she listened and was internally annoyed how his accent, wherever in the devil it came from, made it so she had to concentrate all the harder on precisely what he was saying.

The way his eyes traced her ruined face was familiar to her. Everyone looked, everyone stared. Evelyn ignored it. Time and experience had taught her that it did her no good to care about what they thought of her when they gawked at her scars. "Hn," she uttered, her eyes never leaving his face. When he offered her to join him at the fire, the coyote only continued to stare at him without emotion. After several heartbeats, she nodded subtly.

"Got a strange way of talkin'," she pointed out unappologetically, hovering near enough to the fire to warm her chilled body while taking care not to get near enough to make her burn scars ache too terribly. Evelyn glanced briefly at the bandages covering his hands but cared little after what they hid. "Where do you come from?"

[WC — 285]


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Little Bandit They stole my dirty socks... :( Venerate savagery, Die savagely

POSTED: Fri Mar 01, 2019 2:27 pm

Laurentius Astora
______________________________________________________

All fire is wild. It was poetic, and while the hybrid loathed internally to admit it, it was true.
That was what elicited the most damage toward those who failed to consider the power of fire, actually; it was ultimately impossible to tame.
For a moment, it could be persuaded into submission and generously cooperative.

But even then, it was unpredictable, as if having a mind and soul all its own.

Laurentius looked down to his bandaged hands briefly, feeling a slight sting through his hidden scars as he remembered the accident that caused his deformity.

The pause immediately after her soft utterance and before the eventual approach toward the pit was deafening to the foreigner; he was nervous, but only for a moment. He felt as if he may have offended the stranger with his argument, as tactful as he attempted to be for politeness sake.

It was only a matter of time after meeting the others here that his unique accent was going to be brought up. He was sure there were not many here who shared his lilt, and while it was not improbable for there to be any other British folk in the area, finding another with from Kent seemed a little too unlikely.
Not that they weren't here, but the two to meet? What where the odds.

The male shook his head free from his distracting thoughts. Not from 'ere, surely. Laurentius offered shortly at first, before clearing his throat for more, I'm from across the sea, miss. England, if you've 'eard of it. It would be foolish to assume she hadn't, and the last thing the pyromaniac wanted to do was belittle his company.

An' what of you, if I may ask? He questioned, tilting his head slightly as he did so. Are you native 'ere?

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POSTED: Sat Mar 09, 2019 9:13 pm

Watching him from the end of her nose, her singular fiery eye all the brighter from the glow of flames below, Evelyn clicked her tongue softly. "Surely," she replied blandly, her scarred ears funneling in the sound of his throat being cleared. Aside from the instinctive blinking of her eyes, she offered no other movements or expressions while she waited for him to continue.

Miss. This was better received, though she did nothing outwardly to convey as much. "I have not, I must admit," she replied dully. What good would it have done her if she had? There were more important things to fill her mind, such as how best to escape from her enemies and the important aspects of survival while on the run. She had neither the time nor the interest in the broader aspects of the world. "But that don't sound like a simple trip on horseback. What's brought you here?"

Through her travels, she had come to understand that a "sea" was quite a bit larger than any river or lake she had ever encountered. Why bother to cross something so vast? Unless, perhaps, this boy was running from demons of his own...

She scoffed humorlessly when he asked if she was a native. "About as much as you are, I reckon," Evelyn replied, but did not elaborate. "You been around these parts long?" She was curious how this land and its people and its prey behaved. They – Santiago and her brother – had been around long enough to glean some information, but there was always more to be had.

[WC — 265]


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Little Bandit They stole my dirty socks... :( Venerate savagery, Die savagely

POSTED: Wed Mar 20, 2019 3:03 pm

Laurentius Astora
______________________________________________________

He shifted, somewhat uncomfortable still in the presence of this seemingly morose individual.
Though the loner was accustomed to his perhaps overly friendly and naive personality being unmatched by those others he met, the tension accompanying the company of this stranger...

The mutt swore inwardly, introductions having completely been ignored while he was so foolishly distracted by their argument of fire before.
However, he was not to interrupt with a hastily blabbed greeting, and took his time earnestly listening to her.

There was a short pause after her final question, Laurentius still put off slightly by his failed politeness, before he shook his head and answered, Aye, miss, much more t'an a ride 'bout.

He stretched some, arching his back and rolling his shoulders before continuing, the lack of a comfortable resting spot leaving joints stiff and muscles near constantly aching. I was... Lookin' for an escape, as dreadful as t'at sounds. From no'in in particular, jus'... To get away from ev'ryt'in I'd grown tired of. It was selfish, perhaps, to flee one's home and family for amusement's sake, but there was nothing more to be offered by him being avoided and ridiculed back across the ocean.

I apologize for seemin' ignorant, miss. The male responded to her vague reply to his own curiosity. I 'aven't really been 'ere long at all. At least, the days all seem to blend together, so it certainly doesn't seem so. But time didn't matter much to the mongrel; disregarding the concept of time lessened the stress of deadlines and feeling rushed. He was here for as long as he'd been here, and he'd be here as long as he would be.

The pyromanic cleared his throat, prepared now to fix his initial mistake, I am Laurentius, by the way. I did not mean to be so rude as to not offer you my name before. I apologize for t'at.

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POSTED: Mon Apr 08, 2019 12:40 pm

With the fire blowing its warm breath over her waifish body, The Vicar continued to watch the mutt as he stretched out his muscles and rolled his shoulders and arched his back. "Folk don't generally escape for th' fun of it," she replied apathetically, thinking he was either batshit crazy or a goddamned liar. Evelyn held a measured look against his face another beat before she shrugged. What did she care which it was? Everybody had their secrets. Everybody had their irrationalities. She was no different. "But with th' sea between you an' your weariness, maybe you'll stand a chance."

She flicked a tattered ear at his apology but neither accepted it nor denied it. As far as she was concerned, apologies were a waste of breath. She thought that she could understand his meaning about the days blending together, though. When you were on the run for as long as she had been, life was measured not by days or seasons, but by meals; by successive periods of safety and comfort; by broken wagon parts needing fixing; by counting up the growing number of dead neighbors and comrades and family.

When he spoke again, it was to offer his name and another apology. "Evelyn," she grunted, wondering if his kindness was genuine or an act before deciding it was always safer to assume the latter. "An' now I know this here fire's got a tender, I best be on my way." She tipped her nose at him and, tugging her shawl around her shoulders, started away from the little camp and its sole occupant and slipped back into the shadows. She continued to listen for evidence of pursuit long after she had mounted Blackjack's saddle and guided him away.

You could never be too careful.

[WC — 300]


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